It was such an honour for Bridges of Peace Initiatives – BPI , through our Executive Director, Njeri Ndiangui, to partner with Dispute Management Centre (DMC), led by is CEO Seniour Counsel Mbuthi Gathenji, to run a full days workshop on ‘Out of Court Processes’ (OCP) with a special focus on Mediation.
The event took place on 2nd Februay, 2024 in Kikuyu Town, Kiambu County and had been attended by among others; Lawyers, Mediators, Community Workers, Church Elders, Traditional Elders, Civil Servants and Business people.
It was an opportunity to sensitize the participants on the different Out of Court Processes that are available to help people in conflict resolve their conflicts in constructive ways without necessary rushing to the courts as the first option. Different tools and systems that are embedded in the constitution and the Time and Institutional limitations were shared.
Among the key OCP that were highlighted was Traditional Justice Systems, which should work within the acceptable legal frameworks as well as Mediation- which is taking strong roots in Kenya and has been fully embraced by the Kenyan Judiciary.
A very interesting conflict that is becoming a huge concern by most men in the area was shared- the intersection of Kikuyu cultural beliefs that are being propagated by the traditionalists and Christian values that have become the guiding light for many. It was clear that a dialogue was needed between the church and the Kikuyu traditionalists in Kiambu County to find a way of having the two find healthy ways of co-existing.
Then there was the issue of inheritance that has brought so many conflicts in Kiambu county among family members because the young people are challenging their parents to give them their inheritance while they are still alive. Something the parents are not ready to do. Further, they shared of conflicts that have risen because there are lands that have “curses of not ever selling the land” attached to them. That brought a healthy conversation on the need to have “culture development” so as to reduce those kind of conflicts in the future.
It was clear that more sensitization and empowerment on the use of OCP was critical in Kiambu County. The need to empower elders, who are always acting as ‘third parties’ in community conflicts, as professional mediators so as to support them with the right knowledge, tools, skills and techniques was quite evident.
“Please make sure we have more of this kind of sessions. They are very enlightening and they will help us a lot as we handle the community conflicts” was a sentiment shared by most of the participants.